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Thin At Tight End, Cardinals Get Early Look At Noah Togiai

Notes: Red and White practice on Saturday; team seeks return men 

Cardinals tight end Noah Togiai is "tackled" after a catch by safety Jovante Moffatt during a recent training camp practice.
Cardinals tight end Noah Togiai is "tackled" after a catch by safety Jovante Moffatt during a recent training camp practice.

Noah Togiai's signing was so under-the-radar the Cardinals never even officially announced it.

But the former Eagles practice squad tight end arrived three days after Jonathan Gannon was named head coach. His previous four years in the league have been, let's say, quiet – six games, zero receptions – but out at State Farm Stadium, thanks in part to injuries, it's been hard not to notice Togiai making potential inroads on a roster spot.

"Mentally it's been tough," Togiai said. "I feel like I have played well everywhere I have been but, you know, in the NFL sometimes things just don't go your way. That's cool. I'm still happy I'm in the league four years later even with limited game experience. I'm here. That's says something in itself. I just keep going."

Togiai got started as an undrafted rookie in Philadelphia, went to the Colts (where he appeared in four of his six games) and then went back to the Eagles.

He was spectacular in the first padded practice, making multiple impressive catches – including a diving touchdown – and in the second padded practice on Thursday he made another excellent catch, holding on despite a defender draped all over him.

The Cardinals' tight end situation has been odd. Zach Ertz is on the PUP list recovering from his ACL tear. Trey McBride has done little since the first couple of days of camp with an undisclosed issue, and Geoff Swaim and rookie Joel Honingford have also basically been sitting out practice as well.

That leaves Togiai, rookie Blake Whiteheart and Bernhard Seikovits to take all the tight end reps. Quarterback Jeff Driskel – who was briefly officially moved to tight end by the Houston Texans in 2021, before eventually moving back to QB – has actually taken a handful of tight end snaps with the numbers so thin.

"I'm sure you see us gasping for air a little bit," Togiai said. "It's been tough but honestly, it's been good. More reps, more opportunity to show what you can do and even moreso, show what you can do when you are tired. I keep telling Blake, he's like, 'Man I'm so tired.' I'm like 'Hey, you don't even know how lucky you are.' Some rookies go into camp and get two reps a day."

As with anyone in his position, snaps in preseason games will add another big piece to whether or not Togiai can stick to the 53-man roster. Besides, that's not a subject he wants to delve into for now.

"One day at a time, one meeting at a time, one practice at a time," Togiai said. "I just want to make sure I am on top of my stuff."


Coach Jonathan Gannon was asked what the plan was for Saturday's Red and White Practice, which is the next open practice to fans.

"It'll be full tilt," he said.

In addition to the padded practice, there will be games for children and the entire team will sign autographs for a limited time on both sides of the field after practice. The parking lots open at 11:30 a.m., with gates for season-ticket holders opening at 11:45 a.m. and for the general public at 12:15 p.m.

Presentations start at 12:40 p.m., right before practice begins.


The search is on to find both a kickoff return and punt return man, but there is only so much special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Jeff Rodgers can evaluate at this point.

"A guy can certainly can eliminate himself from the job in practice, but I don't know if anyone is winning the job in practice," Rodgers said.

Among the players who are in the mix as return men are Greg Dortch, Kaden Davis, Davion Davis, and maybe Rondale Moore.

In both kickoff and punt returns, Rodgers said there is a first-down mentality – getting it to the 35 on kickoffs, averaging 10 yards on punt returns. Mostly, though, it's holding on, especially after five seconds of the ball in the air.

"They've got to be able to handle that first, when the lights come on," Rodgers said. "Some guys can handle that, some guys can't. The ball security part is always going to be the No. 1 goal."

Images from 2023 Cardinals Training Camp at State Farm Stadium